As sales people, we all face the same dilemma. We are caught between the urgent and the important. Managing our time is a challenge. In fact, time management is a misnomer since we don’t manage time, we can only manage ourselves. When you Put First Things First, you manage yourself effectively. It means you organize your time around the most important sales tasks.
Instead of trying to fit all the things you encounter in your lives and job role into the time allotted, as many people try – and fail, your focus here must be on enhancing customer or client relationships and achieving sales results.
To do this effectively, you must organize and execute around your sales priorities. Something urgent requires immediate attention, it’s usually visible, it interrupts your day or week, and may not have any bearing on achievement of your sales goals.
Important things, on the other hand, have to do with results – they contribute to your mission and values, and your End In Mind. You react to urgent matters; often you have to take care of important matters, even as urgent ones shout for your attention.
If the common sales paradigm is “I spend time on what is most urgent.” the highly effective paradigm is “I spend time on what is important.”
This is about ‘self-management’. I consistently see top sales performers figuring out their key roles (work/life balance is important) and their most important results, and then planning their week or month around them, rather than ‘shoe-horning’ them in to a packed schedule. This takes focus and discipline.
Top performers realize that to say “yes” to important things, often requires a steadfast approach to saying “no” to something else.